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Writing from the Columbia River Basin

The Grande Ronde River

The Grande Ronde River

Does anyone else measure their road trips in La Croix consumption? No? Just me? Well, this last road trip was a 16 La Croix length trip. Those that know what I mean, know what I mean.

I left Salmon midday two Saturday’s ago, crossed up into the Sawtooths, over Banner Summit, down to the Payette, up to McCall for a night. It was snowing in McCall, raining in Riggins, drizzling in New Meadows where we picked up boats and a pink sunset by the time I made it into Lewiston.

The main event of the trip was a two night trip on the Grande Ronde, Minam Store to the "Above Troy" bridge. A friend and I put the trip together after meeting each other this December at the Idaho Outfitters & Guides Association meeting in Boise. She said, “What about a women’s rowing clinic?” I said, “Let’s get some guides and river women together and float about it.”

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This is me, growing a bit. Before Emerald would say, “Women’s Rowing Clinic! Let’s make a poster! Let’s make this project as grand and unmanageable as possible! It's not real if I'm not stressed!”

The Grande Ronde is low elevation, the rain was warm, the river was flooding and the benches were covered with bright green grass and wildflowers.

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Driving back, I was listening to a podcast where the speaker said, “It’s not hard for me to raise money because I always have who I am serving at the front of my mind.” Out on the river, I was like, “I LOVE BOATING SO FUCKING MUCH!” about once every twenty-five seconds. It was also my reminder of the guiding community that I write about a dozen e-mails a day about. I’m trying to come into this busy spring season with them and these rivers at the front of my mind.

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After “floating about it”, I actually decided my heart isn’t in creating a women’s rowing clinic (BUT IF SOMEONE WANTS TO DO THIS YOU SHOULD AND I HAVE LOTS OF CONTACTS FOR YOU). My heart is in creating more opportunities for women from different corners of the West’s river guiding worlds to connect. This is one of my favorite things about river humans. All you have to do is get them in one place, and the magic happens from there.

We talked, on the river, about how to encourage entering female guides to stick with it. We talked about how to transition from daily to multiday guiding, how to avoid outfitters that don’t have your back, and at the same time how valuable those outfitters can be for preparing you for just about anything. We talked about fear and high water and our proudest accomplishments. We talked about that always-present question, “Do I have another season in me? Is what I give up worth what I gain?”

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And we rolled our own boats and backed our own trailer and loaded oars and rowed down the inside seams of corners because as any good river human, male or female knows, successful boating is way more about, “I LOVE BOATING SO FUCKING MUCH”, than what gender you identify as.

If you're a lady guide, senior or beginner, in Oregon or Idaho keep in touch, we'd love to have you join on next spring's trip!

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